Are Karachi’s residents being supplied with ‘hazardous’ drinking water?

Head of city's water supply body asks police to intervene

Police have been asked to stop the suspected supply of potentially ‘hazardous’ water to residents of the megalopolis disguised as “safe drinking water”, putting consumers at risk of waterborne diseases.

This was claimed by the newly installed Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Syed Salahuddin Ahmed on Thursday.

In a letter to the Inspector General of Sindh Police, Ahmed claimed that “certain elements of vested interests are involved in illegal transportation of unsafe water to water shortage areas from far-flung area of Sakran in Hub, Gharo in Thatta.”

He added that illegal hydrants are operating in Sakran and supplying unhygienic water to parched areas of the megalopolis through illegal and unregulated water tankers.

Noting how health considerations, especially in the wake of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and spread of diseases such as dengue and a naegleria fowleri epidemic, had led to the board putting in place regulations to treat water in the publicly managed water systems.

The newly appointed CEO of KWSB also claimed that treatment prevents “waterborne pathogens such as viruses Covid-19, dengue and neagleria.”

The World Health Organization does not classify Covid-19 or Dengue as waterborne diseases.

The chief of the city’s water supply further claimed that the illegal water tankers contain health-hazardous water, including toxic chemicals and others.

He claimed that these tankers are entering Karachi through routes falling within the jurisdiction of the Mangophir, Mochko and Maymar police stations in addition to Dhabeji and Gharo, from where water is supplied to both Thatta and Karachi.

“Free movement of these tankers putting the citizens of Karachi at the risk of Covid-19, dengue and naegleria,” he stated.

Claiming that the supply of untreated and unhygenic water has become the primary cause of spreading viruses and other health issues in the city, Ahmed called on the police to intervene and “immediately stop the activity of these hydrants and their tanker service to save the lives of people of Karachi.”

He added that the concerned authorities would be held responsible for any increase in dengue and naegleria virus cases due to this reason.

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